Are the kids old enough to be taught to take care of their dvds?
Consumer Reports usually rates player's ability to handle scratched or smudged discs, maybe check their website, but kids too young to learn how to handle them with reasonable care are likely to do more damage than even the best players can handle. DVD just isn't a very toddler-friendly format.
I've had just about every major brand of player over the years and have found Panasonics to be the most finicky, Sony and JVC the least with the sometimes less than perfect rental discs I've tried.
I have found if you take 2 of the same units one will play a disk fine the other not at all, so really there is no great answer. My philips recorder does a great job with my sons smudged disks, but my toshiba they have to be spotless
Thanks for the input guys...The player would be for a play room I've set up for them (this would include more bratty kids visting )....My Onkyo is not good with fingerprints and rentals, so I'll look into the other brands mentioned.